Posted: Friday, 24th February 2012
VICE-Chancellor John Brooks used the first lecture in Man Met’s new eco-friendly Business School and Student Hub to set out our commitment to environmental sustainability.
Addressing the Manchester LitPhil Society in the Percival Lecture, Professor Brooks revealed the university’s ambitious plans to reach zero carbon, zero waste and zero water by 2020 - and spoke of the need for buildings which “meet the imperatives of the present without compromising the needs of future generations”.
“Sustainability is the main driver for the rationalisation of our campuses,” he said.
This commitment will see MMU’s existing seven campuses cut to two, reducing our estate from 250,000m² to 200,000m², saving hundreds of tonnes of carbon in heating, and less duplication of services such as libraries and catering outlets.
A major part of this £350m estates strategy is the development of two exciting new projects; the new £75m Business School and Student Hub and the £107m Birley Fields development.
“What we have done with both of these projects is to make sustainability in design absolutely fundamental, it determines not just what the buildings look like, but where they are located and how they integrate with their local environment.”
The Business School will welcome students from September 2012 and Birley Fields is now moving into the construction phase.
“Birley Fields is a very exciting project as it takes us into a new integrated campus. Our challenge is to deliver a campus that can achieve the three zeros. To do that we have to be quite radical,” explained John.
For example, extra investment in an innovative energy system means that the process to generate mains power for computers and lighting itself produces enough energy to heat the buildings, massively reducing the campus’ carbon footprint.
Putting 1200 student beds on the site will make the site even more environmentally friendly as 24 hour occupancy will allow power to be generated continuously and maximise operational efficiency.
Professor Brooks was keen to emphasise that the new Birley Fields Campus will be green, welcoming, environmentally sustainable and educational: “About two thirds of the campus will be green space and public realm with a range of different bio environments – there will be more trees on site after construction than before and we want it to be a community campus, very much open to the people of Hulme and Moss Side.
“The on site energy centre will become an education centre,” He added: “We have designed it in such a way that it can demonstrate to young people how energy can be generated, recovered and recycled.”
Beautiful and functional
Professor Brooks described how the Birley Fields development follows in the footsteps of the new Business School and Student Hub: “This building which you are now sitting in is a landmark for sustainability, as well as being a landmark for the university.”
“It was designed to maximise the benefits of the environment – the roof faces South at the right angle to collect both light and rain water, two deep atria provide natural light and ventilation and water pumped from underneath the building provides free heating and cooling.
“It happens to be a very beautiful building as well, but functionality was the driving force here.”
The Estate Strategy Master plan, which the new Business School and Birley Fields campus are part of was reached by looking at projections of student numbers, budgets, staff and space requirements and operating on a need to achieve 60% occupancy of all space 60% of the time.
Newbuild or refurb?
Professor Brooks also talked about how special consideration was given to whether buildings should be replaced or refurbished, how they could be operated more intelligently and whether sustainability should be a fundamental design element.
“We had to think hard about whether to build new or whether to refurbish - because the concrete frame of a 1960s building contains a lot of energy which equates to carbon, to knock it down and rebuild it that’s a huge carbon load.
This has meant some demolition and some refurbishment with Science and Engineering receiving a £56m facelift and a £35m investment in Art and Design, with some new-build and some refurbishing.
Additional investments had been made in Cheshire; where £30m had provided new bases for Contemporary Arts and Exercise and Sports Science on the Crewe campus, and in Manchester where £12m had been spent on the Burslem Building.
The Vice-Chancellor added: “We are working together to create a sustainable university which goes beyond being carbon neutral and actually has a positive environmental impact.
“Our goal is to manage our activities and estate to deliver continued improvements in environmental performance through the adoption of key sustainability policies.”
This has so far seen MMU make an 18.5% carbon emissions reduction, improve energy efficiency by 5.5million kWh, reduce water consumption by 12.1%, divert 13,600 tonnes waste from landfill, achieve a recycling rate of 27%, achieve a 7.8% business travel carbon emission reduction, a 9.7% energy reduction in halls of residence, install 1136m2 of green roofs and win a Good Egg Award for commitment to source free-range eggs!
By 2015 Man Met is aiming for a 35% carbon reduction which is almost 15% more than the National Higher Education sector emission reduction targets.
- Director of Services Mary Heaney thanked colleagues who had enabled the Percival Lecture to take place in the Business School and Student Hub. She said: “My thanks to everyone who made it possible to run a public event for almost 130 people in an unfinished building! Some of the names I know and some not: Matt and Sarah Marsland from Campus Services, John Valentine, Matt Wegrzyn and Graham Ormrod from ITS. Please extend our thanks also to the Catering Team for an excellent buffet in the Pennine.